Film review: Guardians of the Galaxy (5 out of 5)
When Marvel announced that one of their 2014 releases would be Guardians of the Galaxy, there was a general raising of eyebrows and logging on to the internet to find out who these characters are.
The other release this year was the latest Captain America movie - a tried and trusted hero - but Guardians of the Galaxy?
However, the Marvel team have not only served up a film worthy of the series, but in my opinion the best one yet.
The original source material may have been a bit obscure but that has worked in the film’s favour.
Thor is a bit too serious, Iron Man wrapped up in his own problems and Captain America is a bit too... American, while the Avengers needed the Hulk to lighten the mood.
Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t really have any preconceptions which works in its favour - it’s just a great fun adventure story.
Chris Pratt is excellent as Peter Quill who, as a young boy in the 1980s, is snatched from Earth by a spacecraft.
A couple of decades later he is roaming various planets stealing valuable objects to order.
However, when he nabs a mysterious orb he unwittingly gets involved in a power struggle to conquer the galaxy.
He teams up with an amazing bunch of criminals - a genetically modified racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a humanoid tree (voiced by Vin Diesel), a psychotic killer (Dave Bautista) and an assassin (Zoe Saldana).
The plot is a serious enough one and Ronan (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan of Dr Who fame) are pretty intense, unpleasant characters.
But interspersed throughout the film are superb one-liners that had the audience laughing out loud.
The special effects are simply incredible (especially viewed on an IMAX screen) and the direction of James Gunn is slick and impressive.
However, the best news of the day was the message at the end of the film that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy will be back’.
Film details: Guardians of the Galaxy (12A) 121mins (out on general release July 31)
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley